29 May 2012
With winter now officially here, keeping babies and young children warm and safe is a priority for families.
Sue Campbell, Plunket’s National Child Safety Advisor says that it’s important to be alert to the dangers from heaters, fireplaces and other sources of winter warmth.
“As babies grow they become interested in touching and exploring everything within their reach. They can easily get into dangerous situations and need the adults around them to make the area safe”.
She says there are some simple things that can be done to keep children safe during the cold winter months.
“Burns from heaters and fires are a real danger for children. A fireguard around your fire or heater, which is attached to the wall so it can’t fall or be moved, will help protect children from burns.
‘We advise parents and caregivers to learn and remember the ‘heater-metre rule’. It’s about keeping any people and materials that can burn, including bedding, curtains, clothes and furniture, at least one metre from all types of heaters, cookers and fires”.
“Children’s winter pyjamas need to be snug-fitting to reduce fire risk. Remember that a label that says ‘low fire danger’ doesn’t mean ‘no fire danger’.
“When cooking, use the back elements of the stove whenever possible and turn pot handles away from the stove front.
“Matches, lighters and candles are also high risk items. We recommend using child-resistant lighters and safety matchbox holders and storing them up high. Teach your children to go to an adult immediately if they find matches and never let children play with candles or be unsupervised in a room with a lit candle.
“Winter is also the perfect time for hot soups and drinks to keep us warm. Holding a young child on your knee as you have a hot drink should be avoided. A cup of hot liquid poured over a young child covers the same area as a bucket of hot liquid poured over an adult.
“Consider using tablemats rather than a tablecloth, children can pull on them and spill hot drinks over them.
‘We encourage families to take care this winter and be alert to the dangers for young children within the home.
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For more information contact
Plunket External Communications Executive
021 405 842